Fieldview Festival 2016

Glitter (and costumes).  If there was a recipe for Fieldview it would have to start with glitter.  It’s the first thing that you see on entering and the last thing that you get rid of when you leave. Glittery tents, glittery boobs, even glittery wristbands… Fieldview is recognisably and consistently glitterier than other festivals.  In fact, the vivacious get-up game in general is particularly strong here.  Never before have so many meggings been worn in the same place!  The standard is also huge in terms of full-blown costumes.  This 10th anniversary year was heralded by the tag line “magic: a cosmic journey” and saw the site decked out with cosmic prints, glitter balls (of course!) and galactic imagery.  Saturday is official dress up day and the amount of dedication shown can only be described as rivalling the likes of Shambala.  Now that is some serious costuming!

 

Positive mental attitude. Aside from the glitter, you are also instantly hit with smiles upon arrival.  Smiles everywhere, from everyone.  This is a very happy festival with no tangible angst or tension and where people leave everything outside their tents for later.  It’s like the old karmic saying in action “put out into the world what you wish to give back”.  Whilst Fieldview exudes vibes of love, family, community, charity and creativity, so it receives a charming clientele.  Nobody is overtly out of control, even after hours.  The programme also includes little pick-me-ups such as “you’re on holiday and you’re a miraculous person” and “YOU make this festival what it is.  Now go out and make it extraordinary!”, which are touching at 9am with a hangover.

 

Games.  We were fully awakened by the Games Master at around 11.30am Friday morning.  Before recruiting the stirring campsite to games, his megaphone announced that we were all wonderful and gorgeous people who should remind ourselves of this fact more often (see above).  It was genuinely a beautiful way to wake up.  Every year Fieldview has four ‘teams’ that are determined by the wristband received upon entry and this year the clans were ‘cosmic unicorn’, ‘phoenix’, ‘space pirate’ and ‘sorcerer’.  Budding sports stars and drunken dare-losers alike battle it out in favourites such as sack race, tug-of-war and limbo, as well as the less renowned (and hastily made up) ‘game of cones’ and ‘drunk waiter’.  Immersive, funny and sometimes downright stupid; the prominence of the team element and Fieldview games is definitely a tenet to be proud of.

 

(Local) music.  Fieldview can be one of those festival where you don’t recognise half of the line-up, however this should be seen as a strength of the musical curation.  The big names that are booked are household, appeal to a wide palate and are usually on the verge of further greatness.  This year that mantle fell to festival favourites Submotion Orchestra, who bewitched the crowd into a collective reverie with their pleasantly haunting dub-tronica.  Aside from them and supporters Keston Cobblers Club, most artists were locally sourced from within a 40-minute radius.  It’s a South West talent scout’s wet dream.  If we have to choose one name to mention, it has to be that of Sam Green along with his band the Midnight Heist (and not because one of them happens to be the Co-Founder of this whole shebang).  Sam Green is indeed an incredible talent.  At 4pm Friday he had already run a ukulele workshop and blessed The Village with an incredible solo display of his heart-wrenching songsmithery and adaptive musicianship, which involved guitar, harmonica a kick drum and various other Dick Van Dyke-esque add-ons. That evening the full band laid waste to the Main Arena with their modern-day take on “swamp infested” ranch rhythms-come-grunge rock in a performance that screamed the likes of Foo Fighters.  Elsewhere, Exposure’s late-night strictly vinyl DnB set was masterfully crafted, and heralded a much-welcomed inclusion of faster tempos.  Garry Spacepope: Cardinal of Tomorrow played various sets ranging from self-professed ‘school disco’ (but grown up and on ‘roids) to a multi-genre mashup affair in Area 139, confirming that he would be my ideal wedding DJ (this being fully complimentary).
 

The Village.  Most festivals attempt the ‘welcoming hippy enclave’ thing and many of them fail.  Whether it’s the seriousness of those who actually do yoga/salsa/whatever or the fact that many festival workers travel the circuit together, walking into workshops or open mics as a random by-wanderer looking for light entertainment can be difficult (antithetical to the whole point of festivals, we know).  Not at Fieldview however.  The workshops were above and beyond your ordinary skills forays, venturing into the likes of flower crown and magic cape-making, capoeira, ‘The Glitter Pit’ and even partner massage (the latter by the lovely Emma Bee Home Tranquillity).  Friday night found us involved a little deeper, in an impromptu cypher at Dr Dreadnaught’s Vaporium & Coffeehouse with DJ Feline/MC EFex and the collective he’d been jamming with previously.  Whereas similar ‘village’ areas are often an auxiliary, we found ourselves spending a huge amount of time here.  More of this please!
 

Food.  Food can easily get missed at festivals, but not here.  A whole page of the programme is dedicated to blurbs on the painstakingly selected vendors and once read, it cannot be unread!  We weren’t brave enough for Deeny’s famous haggis cheese toastie, but Lola’s (gorgeously BBQ glazed) Wings were incredible, as was the freshly woodfired pizza from Flame Baked Pizza Co.  These definitely aren’t your typical jumped-up, over-priced festival food joints and the range is great for such a small event.  From Greek to Canadian and covering the full spectrum from full meaty to gluten-free vegan, Fieldview has revolutionised our festival food habits.

 

A holiday from festivals.  For those who’ve grown up and gotten a scary job, the fact that Fieldview runs from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning ensures that you’re (relatively) recovered by Monday, so no need to take that precious time off.  Furthermore, whilst you’re at the festival you actually feel like you’re on holiday.  The larger stages close down at a reasonable hour (between midnight and 2am) so if you’re weary for slumber then sleep is an actual possibility… And for the more adventurous? There is plenty of late-night fun to be had at the increased number of smaller venues, or the secretive Area 139 stage (open until 6am this year).  From a punter perspective the logistics were certainly all on point despite it being their third site in the past three Fieldviews and as always it stayed affordable, with tickets more £50 than £150.

 

In a market saturated with this-fest and fest-that, festivals nowadays need a unique selling point.  Fieldview however, well it has multiple USPs on top of all the standard tick boxes.  A little bit of London socialista-meets childhood family picnic-meets South West rustic hippy community; Fieldview will bring all of the above out in you, even if you didn’t know you had it.  Yet again this is another spectacular event – the real deal – under the belts of guys and gals who at the end of the donate everything to charity.  We hope that they’re back again next year!

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